WAPELLO — A COVID-19 vaccination update, along with a plea to local residents, was presented by Louisa County Public Health Service (LCPHS) Administrator Roxanne Smith to the Louisa County Board of Supervisors during its meeting Tuesday, nearly three weeks after the first shipment of vaccine arrived in the county.
“Vaccination efforts are underway, we are still in Phase 1A, (but) we are getting inundated with phone calls,” she reported.
According to a past report from Smith and other sources, persons eligible for Phase 1A include medical workers and staff and residents of nursing homes.
However, Smith said most of the calls her office was receiving came from people not in the Phase 1A category who were wanting to know when they would be able to get vaccinated.
Since vaccinations for the initial group are continuing around the state and planning on the next phase is ongoing, Smith said she could not provide any answer to that question.
“I do not know who or when Phase 1B will be or when it will start,” she said, adding her office was issuing press releases, Facebook and other social media postings and trying other measures to cut down on the telephone calls.
She said currently her office had provided 70 vaccinations to eligible persons, while countywide there had been 183 vaccinations, many of those apparently provided by pharmacies that have been partnering with the county’s three nursing homes.
Smith said smaller counties such as Louisa County appeared to be completing its initial vaccinations quicker than larger counties, but the state’s current protocols did not allow any vaccinations for other categories to move forward until all the counties were done with Phase 1A.
The LCPHS would be able to vaccinate anyone eligible in Phase 1A, regardless of county residency, Smith said, adding those people could contact her office at 319-523-3981 to schedule an appointment.
She also said there would be a variety of notifications issued once the next vaccination phase is ready. She also encouraged people to visit the state website at coronavirus.iowa.gov for additional information.
In other action, Louisa County Emergency Management Services (EMS) Director Brian Hall updated the board on efforts to upgrade the alert system in the courthouse.
Hall said the current system could be updated for between $12,000 and $15,000., although it had several issues, including unreliable battery performance and no system maintenance notification.
He also provided information on an alternate system, which would cost around $15,000 to install and train and offered a variety of services, but might also carry a $12,000 annual maintenance fee.
A third option would simply rely on staff members’ cell phone capabilities, but he said that would likely not be an option for single person offices.
The board did not take any action.
Adam Caudle, veterans affairs director, also met with the board and provided an update on his department activities. He said recent federal legislation had added Parkinson’s disease, bladder cancer and hypertension as presumed symptoms for veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
He said that could open the door for veterans or spouses to claim benefits.
In final action, the supervisors:
• Approved the HTG Subdivision in Union Township;
• Approved appointments in the auditor’s, recorder’s and treasurer’s offices;
• Approved the list of county holidays for FY22;
• Approved the appointments of Michele Lagerquist to the county board of adjustment and Brian Hall to the Louisa-Muscatine Disaster Recovery Committee.